As I depart my Thames-side hometown for a few days, I give you Faye Webster and her ‘Kingston’. The 2019 single marked her new deal with Secretly Canadian and provided an opportunity to sing about her native Georgia. “I don’t know that much about Kingston/ But I like the sound it makes when it starts pouring rain”.
It keeps coming… the end of a decade of sound. It would seem that 2014 was peak twenty-tens to these ears. I give you the best of the decade in chronological order:
Honourable mentions also go to: A Great Big Pile Of Leaves for ‘We Don’t Need Our Heads‘ (2010); Lana Del Rey for ‘Video Games‘ (2011); Chance The Rapper for ‘Everything’s Good‘ (2013); Daft Punk for ‘Get Lucky‘ (2013); Floating Points for ‘Silhouettes‘ (2015); Kurt Vile for ‘Pretty Pimpin‘ (2015); Julia Holter for ‘Feel You‘ (2015); The Avalanches for ‘Because I’m Me‘ (2016); Kamasi Washington for ‘Truth (2017); Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for ‘Mainland‘ (2017); King Krule for ‘Dum Surfer‘ (2017); Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Donnie Darko‘ (2018); Father John Misty for ‘Just Dumb Enough to Try‘ (2018); Snail Mail for ‘Pristine‘ (2018); Weyes Blood for ‘Everyday‘ (2019); and Fontaines D.C. for ‘Roy’s Tune‘ (2019)
Merry Christmas listeners! Samuelsounds continues apace this festive period. For starters, I give you with my favourite sounds of yule… all neatly wrapped in chronological order.
It’s the morning after another UK election. The country has been divided for too long. We need some ‘Love and affection’ and no better place to start than Joan Armatrading. The song features on her career-defining, eponymous, third album. You took me dancin’, Joan. Have a great weekend everyone else.
A late start this morning… too late. In 1971, Carole King helped popularise a particular female singer/songwriter sound with the extraordinary success of her album Tapestry and the permanent airplay of chart-topping ‘It’s Too Late’. King wrote the song with Toni Stern, a painter and lyricist from Laurel Canyon. Despite the collaboration, it is believed that the sentiment of the song was directed at James Taylor, who was ‘good friends’ with King and played on Tapestry. King never confirmed the rumours and Taylor later dated and married Carly Simon who had a similar heart-of-the-sleeve moment with ‘You’re So Vain’.
Where I Am Kloot draws inspiration from Dylan, Sean Rowe echoes the gruff baritone sound of Leonard Cohen. Off his 2017 album New Lore, ‘I’ll Follow Your Trail’ is personal song about the singer-songwriter watching his kids grow up in upstate New York. The decision to use horns in the instrumentation was magical.
Another song that has been used to great effect on screen is Love’s Always See Your Face. It closed the band’s (or more factually it was really Arthur Lee’s) 1969 album Four Sail; it later featured in the 2000 film High Fidelity alongside John Cusack, helping him with a bout of misery; and then took a bow on the sountrack of this year’s sublime Once Upon A Time In Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino.
Loving is the musical collaboration of David Parry and brothers Lucas and Jesse Henderson from Victoria, BC. They recently released a new single ‘Visions’. Lyricist Jesse Henderson explains, “the song dwells on a question: that if our lives, what we pursue, or even desire, are often shaped or determined by forces beyond us – what kinds of freedom can we find within that?”. Despite the currency of his existential questions, the sound is all warm pop of yesteryear.
A compilation for sunny day in June. 1992 could have been a creative wasteland between what had been (Madchester, shoegazing, grunge) and what was to come (the Wu-Tang, trip hop, Britpop). But no, far from it. For starters, this was the year that Slanted and Enchanted and Selected Ambient Works 85-92 reached our ears.
Honourable mentions also go to: Sade for ‘No Ordinary Love‘; Derrick May for his Illusion First Mix of ‘Sueño Latino‘; Mel’isa Morgan for ‘Still In Love‘; Coco Steel & Lovebom for ‘Feel It‘, My Bloody Valentine for ‘Only Shallow‘, Sergio Mendes for ‘Fanfarra (Cabua Le-Le)‘, Spiritualized for ‘Shine A Light‘, Kevin Saunderson for his Tunnel Mix of Inner City’s ‘Pennies From Heaven‘, X-Press 2 for ‘Muzik Xpress‘; Flowered Up for ‘Weekender‘; and The Pharcyde for ‘Passing Me By‘.
Good morning! Let’s kick off this week with something very contemporary. On the title track of Big Thief’s latest album U.F.O.F., Adrianne Lenker says goodbye to her UFO friend. “Polarize, polarize/The seasons will bend/There will soon be proof/That there is no alien/Just a system of truth and lies.” The sound is great and a supernatural imagination is on display. Have a great week.
In February 1994, Saint Etienne released Tiger Bay, their third studio LP on Heavenly Records. Band member Bob Stanley referred to the album as “an album of modern folk songs done in twentieth century styles like techno and dub”. Quite amazingly, the powers that be decided to drop the ‘Western Wind’/ ‘Tankerville’ suite from the American edition on Warner Bros. While the delivery of ‘Western Wind’ maintains the essence of a traditional English folk song, the shift into trip hop of ‘Tankerville’ was incredibly current.
On the subject of ladies with style, I feature Ms Harding for the second time this year. ‘Fixture Picture’ is the opening track off her most recent album Designer. I like one youtuber’s comment that it sounds like Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and Beck’s Morning Phase had a baby girl. And what’s more, the hats and the curious dance moves are an added bonus.